Travelling often brings us into close contact with strangers for a time; sometimes with unexpected connections made, and opportunities to tell the story of the reason for our journey.
Last November, flying to Uganda, I sat beside Liz Boonabanna, who talked about her work for the Belgian aid agency, Enabel. This was to build HR capacity in the public services of health and education. So we had an interesting conversation about the challenges and solutions of her work. (The man on the other side of me was a Ugandan professional footballer in the Norway premier league; interesting in a different way!) Once in Uganda, and visiting Kagando Hospital, I picked out the word Enabel in the list of partner and donor organisations to the hospital.
A bit bleary-eyed over breakfast in the guest house on our first morning in Uganda, a fellow guest, Fiona Beckerlegge, talked about how she had started a small child development centre, Kayaninga, in Fort Portal, to support parents and others meet the needs of their disabled children. She was a physiotherapist, who had initially come to Uganda to work for one family with a disabled child, and saw the lack of any help for the many children with physical and learning disabilities.
Later, at Bwindi Hospital, the mental health service lead, Kuule, asked us if we knew of any UK physiotherapists who might be willing to come to Bwindi for a short time to train the parents of children with cerebral palsy. We did, but we also immediately thought of the resource on the doorstep, Kayaninga, and put them in touch.
Leaving again for Uganda in two days, I wonder who I will encounter this time…